Amazon announced today that it will launch an online pharmacy in India. With the launch of this amazon is marking its entry into the online medicine segment. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the medicine segment is a crucial and growing market. Initially it will be available only in the city of Bengaluru. In future, the service can be expanded to other cities.
The company has taken a huge step forward to expand its venture. This is the second big online sector which Amazon is entering this year. The e-commerce site also launched its food delivery service ‘Amazon Food‘ in May. That also started in selected localities in Bengaluru.
What will ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ offer?
Along with non-prescription and traditional Ayurvedic medicines that are already listed on the platform under Amazon health store category, it will now sell prescription medicines. The service is already available in countries like the US, UK, and Canada.
“As a part of our commitment to fulfil the needs of customers, we are launching Amazon Pharmacy in Bangalore allowing customers to order prescription-based medication in addition to over-the-counter medicines, basic health devices and Ayurveda medication from certified sellers. This is particularly relevant in present times as it will help customers meet their essential needs while staying safe at home,” Amazon India said in response to an emailed query.
Growth of Online Stores:
The competition in India among e-commerce services has increased significantly. With new e-commerce sites coming up like Mukesh Ambani’s JioMart the competition has further increased. Furthermore, Reliance was also reportedly in talks with Chennai based Netmeds to acquire a stake in the firm for around $80-100 million. To make its hold stronger in the market and to dominate the market Amazon is expanding its venture in India.
Currently, 1Mg, Pharmeasy, Netmeds, Medlife are e-commerce sites among others in the medicine segment. There are also smaller start-ups like BeatO and mfine. These sites are finding a huge shift of customers from offline retail stores to online pharmacy in the current pandemic. Teleconsultations site Mfine, in Bengaluru, have grown 3-4 times in recent months. The growth of these online stores is such that retail stores are losing customer base.
In addition, demand for medicines has also increased. People have started consuming immunity booster medicine and also Vitamin C medicines.
In today’s time everything has moved online. Not only education and entertainment have moved online, but people have also started taking online consultation, medical tests, and medicine delivery. Growth can be seen in online pharmacy.
Although India has not to finalised regulations for online drug sales, or e-pharmacies, the draft rules state that the retailers need to have a valid license to be able to sell prescription drugs.